I post this entry at the risk of possibly getting crosswise of the formidable pro hobo lobby but sometimes it just need to come out.
When my kids were little (I'm talking pre first grade) we were insane buddies. In their eyes I was basically a really big kid with a driver's license and lots of pocket change. I literally had to sneak away just to be able to use the bathroom in peace. They truly believed in me as a mighty wizard capable of making even the fiercest gumball machines do our bidding. My every utterance was gospel suitable for inscription on papyrus scrolls. And with the possible exception of the unfortunate teenage/adolescent years they always have believed in me, and still do to this day. Which is why, then as now, I've taken every opportunity to abuse their trust in me in all things minor and petty (but never the big stuff).
There was the nearly hilarious toenail clippings incident, wherein after closely observing me harvest a completely intact full set of my overgrown toenail clippings, I convinced them to take the fruits of my harvest to kindergarten for show and tell. The plan was thwarted only because of the hyper vigilance of an alert grandmother. In hindsight I suppose the decorative box was a bridge too far and served only to draw suspicion to the plot.
The point of all this abuse was simply to be able to remind them of who was still the big cheese when they grew up and got a little too full of themselves (re: the aforementioned teenage years). Plus it was entertainment (I gave up drinking when they were born and I figured they owed me some amusement).
Even though they are now grown they are still gullible little farts. So when one of them had occasion to take a trip that was too far to drive but to short to fly the Amtrak was the obvious choice. So with all the seriousness that I could muster I raised the connection between trains and hobos.
If you fall asleep the hobos will steal your shoes. And you should also take some rope to tie your luggage to your torso. Of course they didn't want to believe, but they were afraid not to.
Upon arriving at the destination with both shoes and luggage fully intact my kid called me to check in and to remind me that I am a still the biggest butthole on the planet.
The MSM has now begun to connect the unemployment situation with the political activism situation. There are a couple of articles here and here which detail the story. Image # 6 really takes a stand on the issue.
Two things strike me about this. The first is the absolute and total incoherence of the logic used to justify their arguments. I have lost my job and I am dependent on unemployment benefits or I am over 65 and receiving social security and medicare and in both cases I have been activated by forces I admittedly don't understand and somehow feel compelled to work to reduce and limit the role of government in people's lives.
This leads to the second point implied in their activism. The activists are portrayed as feeling that their problems are caused by "those people"! Take your pick, immigrants, blacks, city dwellers, welfare recipients, educated elites, government bureaucrats, Presbyterians all are somehow responsible for their problems. And this is why the country needs to be "won back" as if it were somehow lost in a floating crap game. Perhaps it was.
These are people who maybe for the first time in their lives are facing adversity. There has always been a job. There has always been a kindly disposed banker. There has always been a well timed bonus check. There has always been the expectation that tomorrow will be better than today. Until now.
As opposed to "those people" who might have been born in a hole under a well but somehow managed to claw their way out of it only to find themselves at the bottom of yet another hole. Rinse and repeat. I suppose B Rock could be the archetype of this genre only on steroids.
You want to feel anger at the very arrogance of their expectations of success and advancement despite their lack of currently marketable skills in their local market. But what I feel is sympathy for their pain. Maybe they are right.
Maybe it is a zero sum game. Suppose that you cannot have a cohort of people "come up" without having an approximately equal and opposite cohort "come down". Maybe what they feel is real. Maybe people of limited means are destined to be pitted one against the other for all eternity. But to be exploited by the source of your problems (at least partially responsible) to turn against the source of your solutions (at least initially) because "those people" are different, well that's just...
I recently had occasion to witness a live jazz set wherein a well regarded local up and comer was sitting in on the tune Stella by Starlight. The young man as I recall took the head alone and to my ears was supposed to state the theme and take a chorus or two of improvisation before opening it up to whoever felt they had something to add.
Immediately following the introduction it became abundantly evident that we were not going to follow that plan. Now I don't know whether the young fellow didn't know the tune or if he was doing some next level shit that was too cool for school but it got my attention right away. I immediately ceased the deep and completely thorough contemplation of the internal complexities of my beer and had a little look see to ascertain just what we had here.
The musician who was leading the gig soon grabbed his horn and started blowing over the top of the young man so as to take over the solo. I thought gig leader guy would clean it it up and take the tune back into a more traditional groove. But instead of taking us back to the normal he continued to develop the rhythmic and melodic pattern that young up and comer guy had set. I don't know if he was trying to cover for him or if he wanted that groove for himself but it was clear we weren't in Kansas anymore. It started off as a typical type of improvisation melodically, but rhythmically it was way off kilter from what I was expecting.
We never did get the regular tune back. Everybody just kind of followed along down that same path until the original tune was barely even recognizable. We truly found some new things in the music that night, certainly things that I had never heard before and more importantly never will hear again. The magic existed just for that moment in time and only for those conscious or sober enough to consume it.
This is why you sit in smokey dives night after night making idle chit chat with idiots who are barely literate and certainly not sober; to be there when the magic happens. You can't bottle it, and when its gone its gone but while it was here you bore witness to it.
Years from now, when you are lying on your deathbed contemplating your minuscule and soon to be extinct existence on this planet your mind may wander back to that night and you'll think, YEAH!
That ladies and gentlemen is what jazz is all about.